Muslim model Halima Aden quits fashion industry

Written by on November 27, 2020

Halima Aden at the launch of Uoma Beauty in April 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

Muslim model Halima Aden is stepping back from fashion and quitting runway shows entirely after feeling pressured to compromise her religious beliefs, she announced Wednesday.

Aden, the first model to wear a hijab and burkini in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, posted a series of Instagram Stories describing the difficulties she has faced in the “toxic mess called fashion.” In the posts, she recounted skipping prayers, wearing clothes she wasn’t comfortable in and styling her hijab in ways she felt betrayed her values.

“They could call me tomorrow and not even for $10 million would I ever risk compromising my hijab ever again,” she wrote. Aden also pledged to never take part in runway shows or travel for fashion months again, adding that “that’s where all the bad energy came from.”

Aden, who lived in a Kenyan refugee camp before moving to the United States, has broken numerous boundaries in her modeling career. She was the first hijab-wearing woman to appear on the cover of British Vogue and was part of Vogue Arabia’s first group hijabi cover.

Her announcement was met with support and praise from celebrities including Rihanna and Gigi Hadid. “Proud of you for staying true to your integrity,” supermodel Naomi Campbell wrote under Aden’s most recent Instagram post. “You are true light and joy since knowing you. And I hope our paths will cross in another capacity, keep rising and shining.”

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